CLIMATE change is the biggest challenge facing Pacific Island Countries because of its impact in determining the way the Pacific will live and survive in the future.
Speaking to participants at the Regional Workshop on Forest Carbon Assessment and Monitoring in the Pacific Islands, acting director Land Resources Division and Land Management and Resources Policy team leader at the Secretariat for Pacific Communities Inoke Ratukalou also said climate change would lead to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.
"Climate change is projected to result in an increase in floods, droughts, temperature changes, winds and storm surges as well as changes to the annual and seasonal distribution of rainfall," he said.
"Pest and disease regimes will be altered and likely to be more devastating, there will be changes to biodiversity and also an increase in salt water inundation of low-lying agricultural lands."
Mr Ratukalou said it was important to note that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made reference to the adverse effects on one of the most vulnerable communities in the world – the Pacific Islands.
"The IPCC in its 4th Assessment Report in 2007 has singled out the Pacific Islands as among some of the most vulnerable places to the adverse impacts of climate change.
"These changes are very likely to affect agricultural and forestry production systems in our region. Issues such as maintaining food and water security, coastal vulnerability, biodiversity loss and their socio-economic, environmental and cultural implications will be important considerations for us over the coming decades."
The regional workshop is being held at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nadi and ends on Friday.